Co-authored by Tim from American Idiot

The “smears” outlined in this reference come from Media Matters. It represents what they define to be some of the most egregious distortions of Fox News.

The claims of bias appear to originate from a single news/commentary format called America’s Newsroom aired between 9am and 11am weekdays on Fox News.

Before diving into the claims made in the list, I’ll begin with some background information about Media Matters and The Huggington Post.

Media Matters

Media Matters has been described as specializing in distorting comments made by politicians, pundits, and media people. It specializes in funneling its “information” to media outlets including, apparently, The Huffington Post itself a liberal news web site.

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post has over 3,000 bloggers — from politicians and celebrities to academics and policy experts — who contribute in real-time on a wide-range of topics. Among those who have blogged on the site are Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Heather Robinson, Michael Moore, Alec Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Saskia Sassen, John Cusack, Larry David, Nora Ephron, Madeleine Albright, Robert Redford, Neil Young, Rahm Emanuel, Albert Brooks, Mia Farrow, Russ Feingold, Al Franken, Ari Emanuel, Gary Hart, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ryan Reynolds, Craig Newmark, Donna Karan, Kenneth Cole, Donatella Versace, Bill Maher.

The Fox News smear campaign according to Media Matters

Smear:Hemmer advances “smear” that Jennings knew of “statutory rape” and “never reported it.” Bill Hemmer reported that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings knew of a “statutory rape” case involving a 15-year-old student but “never reported it.” In fact, the student was above the age of consent.

Rebuttal:On July 24, 2008, Gov. Patrick signed a modified “Jessica’s Law,” St.2008, c.205, which provides for minimum mandatory sentences for certain sexual crimes against children.

One of the changes in the law refines statutory rape laws. It still remains a crime for anyone of any age to have sex with a child under 16 under MGL c.268, s.23.

Bill Hemmer reports on Kevin Jennings failure to report statutory rape. The Huffington Post (THP) claims the 15 year old student was “above the age of consent.” The kid was 15 and the predator was an adult over age 18. This is a crime. Had the 15 year old victim been female and the predator an adult male THP would have agreed with Fox, however, because this was a Gay sexual situation it is glorified and highly lifted above all criticism in liberal circles. This places Jennings above criticism.

Smear:Kelly on Sotomayor comment: “sounds to a lot of people like reverse racism.” On May 26, co-host Megyn Kelly joined conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh by stating that then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remark “sounds to a lot of people like reverse racism, basically.

Rebuttal:Megyn Kelly earned her undergraduate degree in political science from Syracuse University and her J.D. from Albany Law School, where she was editor of the Albany Law Review. She was an attorney who practiced as a litigator with Jones Day, in New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

She currently co-hosts America’s Newsroom, along with Bill Hemmer. America’s Newsroom is an American news/talk program. In other words, while they report the news, they also apply educated commentary on the news.

It would be very difficult for Kelly to make the observation of the potential existence to “reverse racism” if Sotomayor had said “I would hope that my richness of experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than those who have not lived that life.”.

It was Sotomeyor who injected race (and gender) by instead saying “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

While many argue Kelly’s analysis is accurate, at the end of the day it remains legal opinion. It’s a few light years away from being a smear.

Smear: America’s Newsroom falsehood: “House Dems vote to protect pedophiles, but not veterans.” On May 6, America’s Newsroom pushed the falsehood that Democrats attempted to “protect” pedophiles in voting in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Hemmer teased a segment by stating that Democrats had reportedly “voted to give special protection to pedophiles.” During the segment, America’s Newsroom ran on-screen text that read, “House Dems vote to protect pedophiles, but not veterans”:

Rebuttal:An analysis by Shawn D. Akers, policy analyst with Liberty Counsel, said the proposal, formally known as H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act bill in the House and S. 909 in the Senate, would create new federal penalties against those whose “victims” were chosen based on an “actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity.”

Hardly a smear.

Smear:Henneberg repeats right-wing myth that hate crimes bill could gag ministers. During the April 29 edition of America’s Newsroom, correspondent Molly Henneberg repeated the right-wing myth that under the proposed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, religious groups “may be prosecuted for their religious beliefs if they believe that homosexuality is a sin,” and the disputed claim that the legislation “could gag ministers who preach that [homosexuality is a sin], or even if a church may not want to marry a gay couple.”

Rebuttal:It’s a credible threat. To call homosexuality and pedophilia a sin and worthy of damnation could be interpreted as advocating a hate crime. All we would need to fulfill that view is a letigious zealot.

Hardly a smear.

Smear:Fox News’ Hemmer “keeping track of the stimulus money” — by lifting research from GOP website. On April 23, Hemmer repeatedly suggested information about four “interesting” projects reportedly funded by the recovery act was obtained through Fox News’ own research, even though nearly all of the information Hemmer mentioned, as well as that included in on-screen text and graphics, first appeared on Rep. Eric Cantor’s Republican Whip website.

Rebuttal: Research: noun – systematic investigation to establish facts or principles or to collect information on a subject.

The facts are not challenged only the source.

If this weak complaint by Media Matters were to be followed up with facts which disproved information on Rep. Eric Cantor’s Republican Whip website then there would be a firm and justifiable repudiation. As it is, it’s just whinning.

Smear:America’s Newsroom promotes tea party organizing info on-air and online. America’s Newsroom encouraged viewers to get involved with April 15 “tea party” protests across the country, which Fox News had described as primarily a response to President Obama’s fiscal policies. The program frequently hosted tea party organizers, and posted on-screen organizing information, such as protest dates and locations. America’s Newsroom also repeatedly directed viewers to its website, which featured a list of tea party protests.

Rebuttal:Why is this a smear at all? Every news organization should probably encourage everyone to go out and get involved in our government. It is after all, still ours.

If, instead, they advocated only Republicans would be allowed to go then Media Matters might be onto a bigger story, but this just isn’t the case.

Hardly a smear and in fact it is so weak it can’t even be justified as a valid opinion.

Smear:America’s Newsroom directs viewers to “virtual tea party.” America’s Newsroom repeatedly directed viewers to participate in a “virtual tea party” at Fox News’ purportedly non-biased website, Fox Nation. Hemmer told viewers, “Can’t get to a tea party? Fox Nation hosts a virtual tea party,” while Kelly said, “You can join the tea party action from your home if you go to the FoxNation.com … a virtual tax day tea party.”

Rebuttal:More of the same. This is pablum. Media matters needs to grow up.

Smear:America’s Newsroom pushes discredited GOP calculation of Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal. On April 2, guest host Alisyn Camerota asserted that the cost of Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal “would be $3,100 per U.S. household.” The claim was advanced by the House Republican Conference in a March 23 “Talking Points” press release, and the Republicans reportedly purported to back up the claim by pointing to a 2007 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). But MIT professor John Reilly, one of the authors of the study, has disputed the GOP’s calculation, stating that his study “has been misrepresented” and that the Republicans’ claim of an average household cost of $3,128 is “nearly 10 times the correct estimate” based on his study’s cap-and-trade model. PolitiFact.com rated the $3,100 figure a “pants on fire” falsehood.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/capandtrade

Rebuttal:The Tax Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank founded in 1937 that collects data and publishes research studies on tax policies at the federal and state levels. The group is most famous for its annual calculation of Tax Freedom Day for the United States, which it has produced since the early 1970s.

The Foundation’s mission is to “educate taxpayers about sound tax policy and the size of the tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government.”[1] The Tax Foundation is organized as 501(c)3 non-partisan non-profit educational organization.

I’m glad PolitiFact, run by St. Petersburg Times, dispelled that $3100 dollar figure. It would have been nice if they went a little further to tell us it could actually cost households more than that.

Who’s doing the smearing here?

Weak… at best.

Smear:America’s Newsroom falsely claimed Obama budget “4x bigger than Bush’s costliest plan.” On the April 3 edition of America’s Newsroom, on-screen text falsely claimed that Obama’s $3.6 trillion FY 2010 budget is “4x bigger than Bush’s costliest plan.” In fact, President Bush submitted a $3.1 trillion budget for FY 2009 and a $2.9 trillion budget for FY 2008.

Rebuttal:Without sources, it’s difficult to determine. If indeed true, it would make this claim to be the first resting upon fact.

Smear:America’s Newsroom promotes McCaughey falsehood that stimulus would “hav[e] the government essentially dictate treatments.” On February 10, Hemmer and Kelly promoted the falsehood — which first appeared in a Bloomberg “commentary” by serial misinformer Betsy McCaughey and was subsequently promoted by Limbaugh and Matt Drudge — that the economic recovery bill included a provision that would, in the words of guest Stephen Moore, a Wall Street Journal economics writer, “hav[e] the government essentially dictate treatments.”

Rebuttal:Vague.

Smear:America’s Newsroom promotes czar hysteria with ominous music. On September 7, Kelly teased a segment on whether the so-called “mainstream media” was ignoring “questionable backgrounds of some of the other 30-some-odd czars” in the Obama administration while ominous music played in the background.

Rebuttal:The music is very Russian. It’s a tie-in to the Czar moniker. If there’s a smear, it comes from Media Matters calling Russian music “ominous”. Media Matters should apologize to all people of Russia.

The current state of media bias

Fox News Less Biased Than CNN, MSNBC in White House Coverage
October 14, 2009 11:31 AM ET

Pew Survey: Charges of Media Bias Continue to Grow
The percentage of people who believe their work is inaccurate and biased continues to grow.

Nearly two-thirds 63 percent of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press believe that news stories are often inaccurate. That’s a flip from when Pew first asked that question in 1985, when 34 percent of respondents believed stories were frequently inaccurate.

Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two-Decade Low
September 14, 2009
Partisan differences in views of Fox News have increased substantially since 2007. Today, a large majority of Republicans view Fox News positively (72%), compared with just 43% of Democrats. In 2007, 73% of Republicans and 61% of Democrats viewed Fox News favorably. Three-quarters (75%) of Democrats assess CNN favorably, while just 44% of Republicans do so, which is little changed from two years ago. MSNBC also rates substantially higher among Democrats (60%) than among Republicans (34%).

But the starkest partisan division is seen in assessments of The New York Times. Although most Americans are not familiar enough with the Times to express an opinion, Republicans view The New York Times negatively by a margin of nearly two-to-one (31% to 16%), while Democrats view it positively by an almost five-to-one margin (39% to 8%). More independents rate the Times favorably (29%) than unfavorably (18%).

Public Trust in Media Accuracy and Fairness Plunges, Liberal v Conservative Bias Gap at 28 Points

Conclusion

The above analysis by Pew and MRC strongly suggests what we already know. Mainstream media as represented by The New York Times,CNN, MSNBC and the news operations of the broadcast networks is biased toward liberal values. Fox News remains as the lone disenting voice appealing more to the views of conservatives.

Even Media Matters’ claim of bias and smears is itself based upon smearing.

By comparison, the bias of the media catering to the views of the left eclipse the weak bias or “smears” found on Fox News.

More on media bias:

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